A controversial report which claimed without evidence that using the term “white privilege” could damage White working-class pupils’ school performance has been criticised for “stoking a culture war” by an MP who sat on the committee behind it.
Liverpool Riverside MP Kim Johnson described the Education Select Committee report as “pursuing a dangerous and dogmatic agenda” through focusing on the divisive term rather than addressing the underlying causes of educational difficulties such as poverty.
The report said terms like “white privilege may be alienating to disadvantaged White communities”, and it may have contributed towards a “systemic neglect of White people facing hardship who also need specific support”. It offered no evidence to support the claims beyond “belief” and “concern” from committee members.
Johnson – one of four Labour MPs on the 11-strong committee alongside seven Conservative politicians – has disowned the committee’s findings and said she submitted an alternative report calling for funding to “level up left-behind regions”.
“This report is a missed opportunity to bolster opportunities for so-called left behind communities – such as the ones I represent – who are suffering from educational inequalities due to rocketing child poverty and a lack of investment in jobs and opportunities,” said Johnson.
The government “couldn’t care less” about working-class communities, she added, “including left behind White communities”.